Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2013

Winter's best soup: first make the stock.

Yes, I'm just trying to make things difficult. Make stock? Are you joking? I haven't got time to peel a potato, and you want me to make stock. Ridiculous. People are busy these days, in case you haven't noticed. Just look at any television screen. Half filled with people tweeting at broadcasts. You can't chop a carrot while you're tweeting and staring at a television screen. Ridiculous. Yes, ridiculous. But not the stock-making. It's easy. You just dump a bunch of aromatic vegetables in a pot and boil the hell out of them. I made this during the week and it made the best soup I've ever eaten. Tortellini soup. Vegetable stock In a large pot, sweat one large chopped carrot, one large chopped onion and one stick of chopped celery in a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir for a few minutes. Add one chopped leek, one whole onion studded with two cloves, some parsley sprigs, and a peeled and scored garlic clove, a bay leaf, a little dried rosemary, a spray of cra

Spicy chicken and an old play.

Okay, let's try it out . If you're going to die of arsenic poisoning, it might as well be after a nice dinner. Take several pieces of bone-in chicken, and make cuts in the skin with a very sharp knife. Make a marinade: blend half a cup of chopped basil leaves, five garlic cloves, an inch of peeled ginger, two tablespoons of peanut oil, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a little salt. After blending, fold through half a cup of plain full-fat yogurt. Place the chicken pieces in the marinade ensuring it fills the cut sections. Refrigerate for up to a day. Bake, or barbecue, turning once. The result is sensational. Serve on saffron-infused basmati rice with hot lime pickle to garnish and fenugreek roti on the side. Drink: cold beer. Or elderberry wine if you're a murderous spinster with lodgers in the house. * MORTIMER: Aunt Martha, men just don't go into window seats and die. ABBY: No, Mortimer, he died first. MORTIMER: But how? ABBY: Oh, Mortimer, don'

Hold the rice crackers.

You might be safer eating the wrapper. Or is this just one of those beaten-up food scares the press loves so much? Arsenic in chicken is also afoot , so expect a raft of plays in which elderly spinsters dish up braised chicken on rice to their lodgers instead of pouring laced elderberry wine ...

The hoarder.

The thing about the toaster is that it was the fourth electric cooking machine in five months to go through this household. I already had the regular pop-up toaster, and a Ronson toaster oven for toasted sandwiches (which despite never having been featured in this weblog, have been a popular and ongoing delicacy in this household - possibly the pinnacle of the culinary art). Then I came into possession of two more toaster ovens. This happened when I was trying to stop my mother becoming one of those elderly hoarders whose houses often go up in flames. Newspapers up to the ceiling, books filling every room of the house, makeshift wardrobes made from sheets strung over room corners hiding ceiling-high piles of cast-off clothes; that kind of thing. When I was growing up, my mother’s hallway used to be light and airy and a circular window of frosted glass in the front door used to let in the morning sun, now it is dark and gloomy because the circle window is shrouded and, at the far e

Evolution of the eight-year-old.

1969: " ... (I don't advise hard physical training until your late teens because) every young boy in his normal playing activity goes and goes until he drops, and the added physical build-up is not needed. ... I know that I used to swing so long after school that I always used to get into trouble for being late home for my evening meal, and in the football season I went down to the local park and kicked a football around until after dark." - Neil Roberts, in Football the Australian Way , edited by John Craven, Lansdowne Press, 1969 2013: Children as young as eight years are suffering from severe back pain and headaches caused due to over-indulgence in iPads and smart phones. The iGeneration kids now are not only suffering from neck and back pains but also from tendinopathy in wrists and thumbs. The worst affected are children between the age group of 12-16 who are experiencing back injuries typically seen in people over 30, Balwyn Sports & Physiotherapy Centre di

Coldest day since last October.

That was yesterday. Today's reading was stew recipes and the sports results. Onions are cheap at the moment. Beef and onion stew over mashed potato sounds good. We still have wild pumpkins to spare (wild meaning they grew from seeds cast out in the compost and turned onto the vegetable garden) so roasted pumpkin cubes with garlic and cummin seeds to accompany. Coffee with old running friends (old meaning long-time, not aged) at Potter Centre today in the sun, then a long walk home with Alexandra in the stroller. What a life. Well, both of us.


This morning, after toasting almost an entire loaf of white sliced bread and buttering and slicing them into one-inch 'soldiers', to accompany the children's lightly poached eggs, I gently upended the toaster (Tiffany, a Kmart housebrand) over the sink to remove the crumbs. (It also has a crumb tray, but the upending it gets more crumbs out than you find in the tray.) A week's worth of crumbs fell out. Three tiny screws, one tiny plastic bracket and two washers made of heatproof gasket material also fell out. Should I plug the toaster in and switch it on and see if it still works? The question crossed my mind fleetingly, like a nerve telling your brain to remove your hand from boiling water. I threw it in the rubbish. After all, it cost only as much a three full-priced loaves of Flinders sourdough. I'm off to Kmart. Or perhaps I should try one of those cut-price ones at Harris Scarfe. * Incidentally, poached eggs with toast batons is possibly the best